Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) are unwelcome and can wreak havoc on your lawn. Dandelions, perennials in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 3 through 9, can be difficult to get rid of once they have arrived. For small problems, hand-pulling is effective but for larger problems, using a herbicide such as Roundup Pro may be necessary.
Effects of Dandelions
Dandelions can take over thin, sunny or unhealthy lawns, robbing them of nourishment and health. Even if you have few dandelions in your yard, the seeds will still blow in from neighboring yards when they go to seed. Once a dandelion problem begins, it is crucial to take care of it as dandelions will grow larger and become more difficult to remove each year.
It is best to control dandelions before they become such a problem you have to use potentially toxic weed killers. The best way to prevent dandelions is to keep your lawn healthy by watering and fertilizing. Spring is the best time to remove dandelions by hand because their roots are weakest just after they bloom. After rain, when the soil is soft, use a specialized dandelion digger or weeding fork to dig down 4 to 6 inches into the soil and remove as much of the root as possible. Another good method of cultural control is mowing lawns frequently and throwing out clippings when dandelions are in their "puffball" stage and ready to disperse seeds.
In cases where dandelions have taken over a lawn, you may need to use Roundup Pro or other herbicides for broad leaf weeds. Because Roundup Pro is a post-emergence herbicide, you must wait until dandelions appear to apply it. Roundup Pro may be most effective when applied in early fall as it will be moved more quickly through the plant, but can also be applied in spring or whenever dandelions are growing. Avoid mowing your lawn three days before and after Roundup Pro use. Apply it when temperatures are between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, there is little wind and there is no rain the forecast for 24 to 48 hours. A 1 percent solution of 1 1/4 ounces of Roundup Pro per 1 gallon of water should kill most weeds, including dandelions.
Wear long sleeves and clothing that will prevent Roundup Pro from getting on your skin. During application, hold the sprayer close to the ground and apply it only to dandelions. Do not allow the product to drip or leak onto the lawn grass, desirable ornamentals or trees, as it can severely damage them. If you use Roundup Pro in fall and winter rather than spring, the leaves of desirable plants will be least susceptible to damage from accidental contact.
- Kansas State University Extension: Dandelion
- University of Minnesota Extension: Controlling Dandelions
- UMass Extension: Dandelions in Lawns
- Armed Forces Pest Management Board: Roundup Pro Label
- North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service: Postemergence, Non-Selective Herbicides for Landscapes and Nurseries
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